SURF! Busway and Bus Rapid Transit Project
The SURF! Busway and Bus Rapid Transit Project is part of a larger effort to build a modern mobility network for the Monterey Peninsula and beyond. The proposed SURF! line is a 6-mile bus-only corridor from Marina to Sand City and Seaside along a publicly owned corridor parallel to Highway 1. With heavy traffic on the highway, transit riders will enjoy a faster connection between home and work or wherever they go, with a projected 16-minute reduction in travel time along the 6-mile stretch of Highway 1 compared to peak pre-COVID commute times. In addition, every bus rider represents one less car on the road, which means less air and ocean pollution and a healthier community.
Monterey County voters approved Measure X in 2016, identifying up to $15 million for the project with the potential to leverage even more State and Federal funding. SURF! will complement MST’s first bus rapid transit project, the Jazz line, which includes themed bus stops, real-time next bus electronic signs, and frequent service connecting people living or working in Seaside, Del Rey Oaks, Pacific Grove, and Monterey to downtown and New Monterey businesses, shopping, and education. The SURF! project will also expand the Monterey Bay Recreational Trail system for walkers, wheelers, runners, and recreationalists.
SURF! will utilize the Monterey Branch Line rail alignment, which linked the Peninsula with San Francisco from 1880 to 1971. The Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC) purchased the unused line in 2003 to preserve it as a transportation corridor, and light rail is the long-term vision for the corridor if the cost becomes feasible in the future.
Planned connections to the JAZZ and SURF! lines include service from The Dunes in Marina to Salinas and the Alisal Corridor, plus future rapid transit along US 101 through the Salinas Valley.
MST and TAMC have conducted significant outreach to learn community and stakeholder preferences for transit service along the SURF! corridor, including:
- County Supervisor community discussion – September 2020
- Landwatch presentation and meeting – September 2020
- Public agency site visit – February 2020
- MST Board presentation – October 2019
- Bus-on-Shoulder/Branch Line Feasibility Study – July 2018
- Education about Measure X – 2016
- Passenger rail feasibility studies – 1990s thru 2009
Community input to date has emphasized the need for:
- Timed transit connections
- Cleanliness on board and at stops
- Real-time information, ticket vending machines, and restrooms at stops
- Preservation of the nearby bike facilities